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Archive for Sunday, November 15, 1998

GUN CONTROL

November 15, 1998

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To the editor:

Your Sunday edition, page 7A, contained an article titled "Tightening of gun sales urged," in which Sarah Brady made the statement that "the past five years have demonstrated the importance of observing waiting periods and doing background checks at gun stores." The past five years have done no such thing. The Brady Bill flies directly in the face of recent research done by serious scholars which shows that private firearm ownership by law-abiding citizens reduces crime.

A 1996 Department of Justice study of nearly 2,000 felons in prisons around the country found only 7 percent of handgun predators (men who had committed multiple gun crimes) obtained firearms from licensed stores. Of the criminals surveyed, 79 percent said that once they were freed from prison they could get a handgun within a "few days." Of the handgun predators surveyed, more than half -- 53 percent -- said after their release from prison they could get a gun within a "few hours."

In addition, the number of states legalizing concealed carry of firearms has grown from nine to 31 since 1986. Professor John Lott of the University of Chicago showed that in states that adopted concealed carry laws, murders decreased by at least 8 percent, rapes by 5 percent, aggravated assaults by 7 percent and robberies by 3 percent. Murder rates of women permit-holders fell by as much as five times the drop of their male counterparts. Furthermore, California has a 15-day waiting period for handgun purchases, three times the length of the Brady Act, yet its murder rate is 43 percent higher than the rest of the country's. Los Angeles has more murders than any other city, with the exception of New York City, which has an equally stringent gun control regime.

If anything, Mrs. Brady, the past five years -- in fact, the past 20 years -- have shown that waiting periods do absolutely nothing to control crime and reduce violence. Rather, they increase violence. The Libertarian Party is completely pro-choice on guns, as well as on everything else. We would eliminate all gun control legislation, would stop disarming victims, and would restore the Bill of Rights.

John Lee,

Libertarian Party of Kansas,

2100 Haskell.

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